Determining whether discount or big name memory foam brands are “better” and will provide the comfort and support you need can be difficult without knowing what to research and what to compare. In previous articles, we’ve compared types of memory foam mattresses and different brands’ densities, but in this article, we look specifically at brand names to see whether higher prices really do equate to better beds. Because many of us don’t have days to research memory foam brands, people often end up going with the ones that are most familiar or the ones with the most appealing marketing pitches. However, because so much goes into mattress satisfaction, it can be wise to look beyond the name and beneath the covers when shopping memory foam brands. We’ll begin by outlining the main companies and then get into comparing the details.
Memory Foam Brands and Models
As a group, memory foam mattresses have received an 81% owner satisfaction rating, which is significantly higher than traditional innersprings at an overall 62% satisfaction rate. As with all products though, some rank much higher, while others are much lower. To help highlight the differences, we look at an array of memory foam brands from high-end luxury retailers, discount retailers, mid-level lines, and popular online brands. For a more specific comparison, we looked at one model from each brand with similar specifications, around 12 inches in thickness.
- Tempurpedic Rhapsody Breeze – A 12” traditional memory foam mattress with high conformity, medium firmness, and and CoolMax cover. Sold at Tempurpedic.com and through dealers.
- Sealy Optimum Inspiration – A 11” traditional and gel memory foam bed with medium conformity and firm support. Comes with a cotton-blend cover, and is sold through dealers.
- Serta iComfort Savant – A 12” regular and gel memory foam bed with medium conformity and medium-soft firmness. Comes with a cotton-poly blend cover. Sold at Serta.com and through dealers.
- Amerisleep AS2 (formerly Revere) – A 12” plant-based memory foam mattress with high conformity and medium-firm support. Includes a cover with bamboo blend cover. Sold at Amerisleep.com.
- BedInABox Tranquility Gel – A 11” gel memory foam mattress with medium conformity and medium support. Cover includes Tencel fabric surface. Sold at BedInABox.com.
- Spa Sensations 12” Theratouch – A 12” traditional memory foam mattress with medium firm support and a velour cover. Sold at Walmart.
- Sleep Innovations Suretemp 12” – A 12” traditional memory foam mattress with medium support a knit blend cover. Sold at Amazon.
- Comfort Dreams Select-A-Firmness 11” – This is an 11” mattress that comes in three firmness options and includes an unspecified knit cover. Sold at Overstock.com.
Specifications and Value Comparisons
Comparing the specifications and their variances between discount and high end memory foam mattress brands can help you determine the best value and best fit for your needs and preferences. Although consumers typically associate price with quality, mattresses don’t always follow the pattern. The chart below offers an overview of the memory foam brands and specifications, followed by a more detailed explanation.
|Brand||Tempurpedic||Sealy Optimum||Serta IComfort||Amerisleep||BedInABox||Sleep Innovations||Spa Sensations||Comfort Dreams|
|Model||Rhapsody Breeze||Inspiration||Savant||AS2 (formerly Revere)||Tranquility Gel||Suretemp 12”||12” Theratouch||Select A Firmness 11”|
|MF Layers||1.2” 7.0 lb|
2.8” 4.0 lb
|5” 4.0 lb||2.75” 3.0 lb|
2” 5.0 lb
|3” 4.0 lb||3” 3.0 lb||2.5” 3.0 lb||3” 3.0 lb||4” 2.5-4.0 lb|
|Trial||90 days||120 days||120 days||90 days||120 days||30 days||90 days||0 days|
Types of Memory Foam
Memory Foam composition can influence price, value, comfort, and may even influence health. Many of the memory foam brands use traditional memory foam, and Serta, Sealy and BedInABox also add gel layers or incorporate gel in the foam. Amerisleep uses a plant-based memory foam. In a previous article, we compared memory foam mattress technologies to see how they stack up, and here are a few highlights:
- Traditional foams score well on a durability and pressure relief, but tend to receive the highest complaints of odor and heat and usually have slower responsiveness.
- Gel memory foams typically receive mid-range scores, with slight improvements in odor and heat over traditional foams, but maybe have durability concerns depending on how the gel is incorporated.
- Plant-based memory foams had the lowest complaints of heat and odor, and since they are typically temperature neutral, are more responsive.
Memory Foam Mattress Composition
Memory foam mattresses all have a similar design, with a foam core and layers of memory foam on top. Density is one of the biggest differentiators between memory foam brands and memory foam quality. We discussed memory foam density in detail in another article, but the key things to know are that lower density foams are more prone to impressions and can feel less supportive, but are also less prone to heat and off-gassing. Higher density foams excel and buoyant support and durability, but can feel cumbersome and may be more prone to heat and odor.
In the memory foam brands we reviewed, the cheaper options primarily used low-density foam with the exception of the Comfort Dreams Select-A-Firmness in firm which has a layer of 4.0 lb foam. Of the two middle range brands, BedInABox uses low density foam and Amerisleep uses medium density foam. Serta iComfort uses layers of both low and medium density memory foams, while the more expensive Sealy optimum has only medium density foam. The most expensive brand, Tempurpedic, features a layer of medium density foam topped with a layer of high density material.
Heat remains a hot issue for memory foam brands who make a variety of materials and claims about cooler sleep. Some manufacturers have begun adding gel to traditional memory foam mattresses in an effort to reduce heat, while others have cut patterns into the surface to increase airflow. Gel is believed to have a minor effect on temperature initially, but will eventually reach body-temperature. Plant-based memory foam was shown in one study sleep up to 25% cooler than gel. Density and depth of foam as well as mattress cover material can also affect how hot a person feels while on a mattress.
In the chart, we show the proportion of reviewers that complain of heat for the mattresses. The Sealy and the Tempurpedic had the most complaints of sleeping hot despite specific cooling claims, though these are about average for memory foam in general. The majority of the brands hovered between 4-6% for heat complaints, which is better than average, but expected for lower-density beds. Amerisleep, the plant-based memory foam brand, had the fewest heat complaints with less than 2% of AS2 reviews expressing an issue.
Odor & Off-gassing
Chemical smells and odors can be annoying for some people, and like all manufactured products, it is possible for these types of beds to have a smell. However, some memory foam brands are less odorous than others due to how the foam is made and what is in the material. About 15% of all memory foam buyers report a strong odor, though only a small percentage find it bad enough to return or notice it for more than a week or two. Among the compared brands, around 10% was the norm. Serta iComfort and Sealy Optimum had slightly lower complaints at 6% and 7%, and Amerisleep had the fewest at 3%.
Warranties & Returns
While not directly related to comfort, warranties and returns are important factors that influence satisfaction and value. For memory foam brands, a warranty should offer decent coverage against sagging for the estimated useful lifespan of the product. In the chart, the first number is the full coverage term in years and the second the limited warranty length. Many of the brands (Tempurpedic, Serta, Amerisleep, Sealy) cover sagging over 0.75” for at least 10 years, but several of the cheaper brands have much weaker warranties. BedInABox covers sags over 1” for 5 years and then 1.25” years 5-10, while Comfort Dreams and Spa Sensations offer only 5 years of limited warranty. We could not find details on the depth of sagging coverage for Sleep Innovations, Comfort Dreams, or Spa Sensations.
Trial periods prove especially important for people who have not slept on a memory foam mattress and may not choose the right level of firmness at first. An inexpensive bed can quickly become quite expensive if you are stuck with it and it doesn’t provide the necessary comfort and support for quality sleep. Since it can take at least 30 days to adjust to a new bed, this should be the minimum amount of time you have to make a return or exchange. It is also important to check and compare fees for returning which can vary by retailer. For the brands today, both expensive and inexpensive options have fairly good trial periods over 90 days with the exception of Comfort Dreams which is non-returnable to Overstock and Sleep Innovations which has only a 30 day trial through Amazon.
All of the memory foam brands we compared came in at or above the industry average of 80% satisfaction for this type of bed, and all offer significantly higher satisfaction than most spring beds. However, significant differences were apparent. The lowest scoring brand was the most expensive, Tempurpedic. The next two down the price chain, Serta and Sealy, also scored only slightly above average. The cheapest end actually showed higher owner ratings than the expensive end, especially with Comfort Dreams and Spa Sensations. However, the two mid-price brands actually showed the highest overall owner satisfactions scores, with a 92% satisfaction rating for Amerisleep and 90% for BedInABox.
Discount Versus High-End Memory Foam Brands
So does a costly memory foam mattress equal comfort and satisfaction? According to reviews, not necessarily. What did tend to correlate with better reviews was good service, limited complaints of heat, and reviewers that felt like they got a good deal. Most of the higher-rated beds also used primarily medium-density memory foam. The biggest value potential in terms of quantity and quality of memory foam for the price are the Comfort Dreams Select a Firmness in Firm for those on a tight budget, and the Amerisleep AS2 (formerly Revere) for which falls in the mid range of price but yielded the highest average review scores.
Simply put, choosing between discount and high end memory foam mattress brands is not as easy as comparing prices. There are high-priced products that offer similar quality and materials as lower cost options but may have inflated costs due to brand image and overhead markup. Similarly, some discount brands may offer a good value while others may not in the long run. When shopping for a new bed and comparing memory foam brands, it is more important to carefully consider the factors that are important to you and your budget, then look at wide range of options to see which offers the best match for your needs as well as the best value and satisfaction potential.